Have you ever felt intimidated by women who can study just a few verses of Scripture at a time and draw out such a depth of understanding and wisdom from just a couple sentences? I have been intimidated, yet envious, and overwhelmed at desiring this understanding also, but not knowing where to begin.
Last year I was introduced to the idea of Inductive Bible study through Kay Arthur’s Precept Ministries. I used a free version of one of her studies online, and while in depth, it was also doable, and I found myself in a place I’ve never before been in God’s word. I was hooked!
Since then I’ve posted photos on Instagram, talked about my studies and had quite a few questions asking me to share how I’m doing it. I had answered saying a post would be coming, but delayed it for almost a year now as I’ve been unsure about sharing about it.
You see, I don’t want anyone to feel that this is in any way a superior way, or the only way, to study God’s word – because each one of us is different; we have different strengths and weaknesses, areas where we excel and struggle.
We should be willing and desiring to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones as these are true signs of growth in our walk with the Lord – but if it’s too overwhelming and makes us not even want to read the word, then sticking with a simple, daily reading can be just as good!
So if you are interested in Inductive Bible study and would like to know how to get started, then please begin here :0)
Getting Started With Inductive Bible Study
and Bible Art Journaling (Part 1)
In Part 2 I will talk briefly about a big surprise I’ve had in finding I really enjoy bible art journaling! And I’m the furthest thing from an artist, so if I can do it anyone can!
What is Inductive Bible Study?
The Inductive Study Method is an investigative approach to the Bible using three basic components:
Observation, interpretation and application.
In other words, you’re observing what God or the writer says, the background, setting, theme, character of God, promises, main messages and point, then interpreting it (finding out what it means) based on what you know about who God is and what his word says about him, and finally put it into practice in your own life.
Click through this link to learn more about what each of these components is.
Tools for Inductive Bible Study
There isn’t a lot you need to do an inductive bible study. You can, by all means, purchase Kay Arthur’s Precept Ministries bible studies from her website or different ones from Amazon. But it isn’t necessary.
What I would highly recommend is Kay Arthur’s Discover the Bible for Yourself. It is an amazing “handbook” that gives an overview of each book of the bible, key words, themes to watch out for, observations to record and how to respond.
Just knowing what to look for in each book of the bible has helped me tremendously to not feel overwhelmed and providing me with e a starting point. (Also check out Kay Arthur’s How to Study Your Bible if you’re completely new to bible study on your own.)
It’s also helpful to have a bible in your preferred version :D.
A wide margin is fantastic, but not necessary, unless you like to do art journaling as well – more on that in Part 2!
Erasable colored pencils have been great as I’m a type A personality and I just want to be able to change things if I get it “wrong”. (Yes, I know, I need to just let it go!)
I do also love my colored pens (and they certainly come in handy for art journaling). These pens do not bleed through the pages and come in lots of colours for your key words, symbols and art:
Since I’m not a very creative type, I get my key word symbols from Precept Camden and keep a copy on my computer.
Since we don’t have a color printer I just keep the browser or file open on my computer when I start the study and refer back to add any other words I want to make note of, record or remember in my notebook.
Speaking of notebooks – I love moleskins! They’re nice and compact, sturdy, and let’s face it, having a cool notebook just makes the study that much more fun. I use my notebook to record key words for each chapter so I don’t have to keep trying to find them in Kay’s book, as well as to write down truths from the key words that I want to remember.
How I Do My Inductive Bible Studies
Here’s where we get into the real nitty gritty of how I do my inductive bible study. Again, my heart in this is to encourage you that you can do this too, and there’s no perfect or right way of studying God’s word, nor is there one way that works the same for every person.
The goal behind studying God’s word in this investigative way is to connect with him in an even deeper relationship as you discover the breadth and height of his character, love and promises for you in his word.
Inductive bible study can seem intimidating. Even Kay’s handbook has a LOT of information to absorb and honestly, I nearly gave up before I even started. But I didn’t want to be a quitter, and I really wanted to find a way to make it work for me without having to fit into all the “rules and guidelines” (which, in reality, were really all in my head).
In order to make this work for me, I knew I’d have to simplify my method to make it fit into my time frame. I also wanted this to be something I could do ongoing without becoming overwhelmed.
Basically, I decided to choose from the suggestions in Kay’s book: What was most important for me to get out of the text? And as time and understanding allowed, I would build from there.
Key words – use colored pens/pencils and symbols to mark in my bible:
Key word truths – record in notebook:
Record observations and themes – as time allowed (and often at the end when I had finished the whole book, depending on the length of it):
I’m currently using the online bible studies from She Reads Truth to help me take small mouthfuls of each book, instead of whole chapters at a time.
I love their studies and they seem to be just the right length for me to go deep into what I’m reading without running out of time to finish.
You could certainly do this, or you could take a whole chapter of the bible, or go by the breaks within each chapter. The key is to not bite off more than you can chew, know your limitations and tendencies (if you try to do too much and can’t, will you quit altogether?), and pray, asking God to reveal his word, truth and love to you on a whole new level.
If you study God’s word in this way, however much time you spend, I can guarantee you will see things you’ve never seen before, and understand concepts and truths you thought you had down, but are suddenly seeing in a whole new light.
It truly is a tremendous blessing and privilege to spend time investigating God’s word.
Have you done Inductive Bible Study before? What were your greatest challenges and what has been your greatest triumph?
If you haven’t done an Inductive study, what is keeping you from doing it? Are you intimidated with not knowing where to start or how to do it?
I hope and pray this is an encouragement and help to you as you seek to spend time with God studying his word.
Here’s Part 2 – How I Got Over My Fear of Bible Art Journaling